Sunday, July 21, 2019

The Standard Bearer

Today is the memorial for St. Lorenzo da Brindisi, Doctor of the Church, born Giulio Cesare Rossi in the Kingdom of Naples. He was well known in his day for his unusual talent for languages, and become the most important Capuchin preacher of his day. In 1601 he became a chaplain for the Holy Roman Emperor, Rudolph II, in the fight against the invading Turks, where he became famous for being on the battlefield with the soldiers, with no weapons and a cross as his standard. He's quite difficult to find in English translation; from a public domain translation of his Mariale, Part I, Sermon I:

Therefore, since Christ is the Most August miracle of God, of which even Isaiah, chapter 25 in the Hebrew (says): I shall praise Thy Name because Thou has wrought a miracle [Is. 25:1]; Mary cannot be but a great miracle, since She is most similar to Christ, just as the full Moon is to the Sun. Wherefore just as God from the beginning placed two great lights in the sky [Gn 1:16]; so in Paradise (He has placed) two great miracles, Christ and Mary. Hence we read that the Angels, admiring Christ, (say): Who is this king of glory? Who is this king of glory [Ps. 23:8-10]? who is this, who comes from Edom, with garments dyed from Bosra, this handsome one in his stole, marching in the multitude of his fortitude [Is 63:1-2]? Similarly we read that admiring Mary (they say): Who is this who ascends from the desert, overflowing with delights [Song 8:5]? And again: Who is this who ascends through the desert as a stream of smoke from the aromatics of myrrh and incense and all the powders of the ointment-maker [Song 3:6]? Even still (they say): Who is this who steps forward as the surging dawn, beautify as the Moon, shining as the Sun, terrible as an army in battle array [Song 6:9]? Thrice do they wonder, since Mary, just as Christ, is a threefold miracle, of nature, of grace and of glory. Therefore, just as Christ is a great miracle to the Angels, so also Mary; a great miracle, Christ, a great miracle, Mary, the Mother of Christ: A great sign appeared in Heaven [Rv 12:1].

Stanley Gahan discusses St. Lorenzo's Mariology here.

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